New England Patriots Mock Draft: Keys To Another Super Bowl Run
The New England Patriots are coming off of their fourth super bowl victory during the Belichick/Brady regime, but have many holes to fill. The departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Vince Wilfork among a few others, leaves the Patriots searching for impact players at premium positions in the 2015 NFL Draft. While there is a better chance of winning the lottery than predicting what Bill Belichick will do on draft night, this is how the draft will unfold for the New England Patriots.
Round 1: DT Eddie Goldman, Florida State University – 6’4” 336lbs
With the departure of longtime Patriots DT Vince Wilfork, the Patriots have a need for an anchor in the middle of their defensive line with two gapping capabilities. Eddie Goldman is a perfect fit for what the Patriots look for out of their defensive tackles. The ability to be a two-gap player is a critical attribute for any Patriots defensive lineman. The biggest knock against Goldman is his lack of a pass rush, but in the Patriots system that is something he will be asked to do rarely. Grabbing Goldman at the back end of the first round represents tremendous value, and shores up the middle of the defensive line for years to come.
Round 2: ILB Denzel Perryman, Miami University – 5’11” 236lbs
With their second pick, the Patriots will look to add depth to their linebacking corp. Don’t’a Hightower is recovering from off season shoulder surgery, expected to be out six to seven months, and Jerod Mayo is also coming off of season ending injury along with being limited to thirteen games the past two years who also carries a high cap number. Belichick will draft a linebacker early, to further solidify depth. Perryman fits the mold of a Patriots linebacker; he is a bigger, thicker, hard-hitting player that can immediately help in the run game. Last season, Patriots used Jamie Collins and Hightower exclusively as both never came off the field. Addition of Perryman, offers depth to a position of uncertainty.
Round 3: G Tre Jackson, Florida State University – 6’4” 330lbs.
With their first third round pick, Patriots fill a glaring need among the offensive line. Jackson was a three-year starter at guard, playing alongside Bryan Stork last years fourth round pick. Jackson is a big and powerful guy, with the ability to get to the second level that is critical in the Patriots power running scheme.
Round 3: CB Josh Shaw, University of Southern California – 6’ 0’’ 201lbs
While the loss of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner may lead analysts to believe a scheme change is coming, the re-signing of Devin McCourty allows them to continue the single high safety scheme that helped them get to the Super Bowl. Bringing in Josh Shaw gives them a bigger bodied cornerback, who strived when asked to play press man coverage at USC, and is a more than capable run support defender.
Round 4: CB/S Eric Rowe, University of Utah – 6’1” 205lbs
Rowe provides scheme versatility as he played both cornerback and safety at Utah. Best fit in the NFL may be at safety where he is a strong run support defender that plays with physicality and aggressiveness. Rowe would be an athletic upgrade of Pat Chung as an in the box safety, that can be strong against the run while having the size to cover the tight end.
Round 4: RB Mike Davis, University of South Carolina – 5’9” 217lbs
Davis has the ability to be a three down player as he runs with power between the tackles, and shows the ability to get to the second level. One of the stronger receivers out of the back field in this years running back class, that can help fill the void left by the departure of Shane Vereen.
Round 6: OLB Kyle Emmanuel, North Dakota State University – 6’3” 255lbs
Emmanuel is a project player whose initial contribution will be on special teams, while he adjusts to higher-level competition. Emmanuel can fit as defensive end in a four-man front, or an outside linebacker in a three-man front. Small school prospect with big time potential if given the time to adjust to higher level competition and learn the position behind veteran Rob Ninkovich.
Round 7: WR Stefon Diggs, University of Maryland – 6’0” 195lbs
Diggs has the size to play as an outside receiver, but has the speed and agility to also operate out of the slot, whose initial contributions will be as a return specialist. Diggs is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands, but durability concerns and a strong wide receiver class has caused him to slip down team’s draft boards.
Round 7: WR Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon – 6’3” 204lbs
With their last pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Patriots take a Division II prospect who has the size and speed that equals many of the top receivers in this years class. Williams has the ability to be a vertical threat that can stretch the field and create space for Julian Edelman to operate underneath. Williams is a long-term project that is worth the investment with their last pick of the draft.
The Patriots last year had the luxury of being able to use their picks on players who would help them in the future, this year they are in a different position. Belichick must leave this draft with starters at defensive tackle, guard, and cornerback. In Goldman, Jackson, and Shaw he does just that and further fills out the depth of his roster with quality football players, which can contribute in all three phases of the game.